Blog posts may be reprinted without permission,
provided a link to is included.

Should immigration to anywhere be unlimited?

… my general opinion is that, man having a right to live somewhere on the earth, no nation has a better right to exclude him from their portion of the earth than every other has; & consequently has no such right at all. motives of safety may authorize a temporary denial of certain privileges, but they must be limited with reason & good faith, or they become tyrannical.
To Benjamin Vaughn, June 7, 1801

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Wise leaders don’t fear outsiders. They welcome them.
Vaughn had written a long letter to Jefferson about what rights aliens should have. He suggested those rights be limited but increased yearly. After 14 years in America, an immigrant’s rights should equal those born here. Jefferson acknowledged Congress could define citizenship and its rights, and individual states could further define the rights of aliens living within their boundaries.

While Jefferson didn’t comment on the specifics of Vaughn’s proposal, he had a broad view of individual rights. He thought no nation on earth had the right to limit where any person might live. A nation could limit an alien’s rights for reasons of safety (national security), but those limitations should be temporary, limited, and characterized by food faith.

Of course, America was a new nation with great promise for its residents. Immigrants eager to share in that promise would make the nation stronger and more prosperous. Jefferson welcomed them.

“Our members were very honored and flattered by your complimentary remarks…”
Executive Director, Missouri Society of Professional Engineers
Your members will be honored by Mr. Jefferson’s tailored remarks.
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739
Leave a comment Posted in Miscellaneous Tagged , , , , , |

What should be done about abusive newspapers?

I am sensible, with you, of the distortions and perversions of truth and justice practised in the public papers, and how difficult to decypher character through that medium. but these abuses of the press are perhaps inseparable from it’s freedom; and it’s freedom must be protected or liberty civil & religious be relinquished. it is a part of our duty therefore to submit to the lacerations of it’s slanders, as less injurious to our country than the trammels which would suppress them.
To Elijah Brown, June 7, 1801

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Realistic leaders know bad sometimes comes with the good.
A congratulatory letter from the 16th regiment of South Carolina observed that it was difficult to obtain a clear view of the new President from the newspapers. Jefferson acknowledged the “distortions and perversions of truth and justice” evident in the papers, partisan mouthpieces with no concern for balance or objectivity.

Yet, Jefferson defended newspapers and the freedom they represented. If that freedom were restricted, other liberties would suffer, too. Better to endure the abuses of the newspapers than the greater abuse that would come from restricting them.

“I personally want to thank you.
It is a delight to have speakers like yourself who make me look good.”
Meetings Administrator, Iowa State Association of Counties
Mr. Jefferson will make you look good to your audience, too.
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739
Leave a comment Posted in Newspapers Tagged , , , , , , , |

You cannot turn me down now!

I now learn that it is thought possible you might be induced to relieve our distress by undertaking it [the job of Navy Secretary]. the residence here is very pleasant indeed. a charming society, & not too much of it, all living on affectionate & unceremonious terms. it is impossible to be associated with more agreeable collegues. I hope therefore that you will undertake the office, & so say by return of post … and we shall entertain the hope of seeing mrs Langdon & yourself as soon after as your convenience will admit. accept assurances of my constant esteem & high consideration.
To John Langdon, May 23, 1801

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Sometimes, leaders can plead and still get turned down. Even the President.
Jefferson had great difficulty recruiting a Secretary of the Navy. He was downsizing that department, and it was not an appealing position.

Langdon (1741-1819), was a wealthy New Hampshire republican businessman from a ship-building family. He had already turned the job down once. Then, Capt. Jones declined to serve. A third person was filling the office on a temporary basis only. Jefferson offered it to again Jones, who turned him down a second time.

Now, he turned to Langdon again. Hoping to change his mind, he painted a rosy picture of Washington City: Charming people but not too many of them, friendly, unpretentious, pleasant to work with.

None of it worked. Langdon turned him down again.

“I especially was impressed how well you tied our meeting topics into your speech.”
Mailboxes, Etc.
Mr. Jefferson will reinforce the themes of your meeting.
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739
Leave a comment Posted in Military / Militia Tagged , , , , , , , , |

Can government REALLY be made smaller?

Levees [formal parties hosted by the President] are done away.
The first communication to the next Congress will be, like all subsequent ones, by message to which no answer will be expected.
The diplomatic establishment in Europe will be reduced to three ministers.
The Compensations to Collectors depend on you, not on me.
The army is undergoing a chaste reformation.
The navy will be reduced to the legal establishment by the last of this month.
Agencies in every department will be revised.
We shall press you to the uttermost in economising.
To Nathaniel Macon, May 14, 1801

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
It is the rare leader who voluntarily reduces the size of his team.
North Carolina Congressman Macon (1757-1837) was a strong supporter of the new President and limited government. In an April 20 letter, Macon laid out a list of his constituents’ expectations for a less intrusive and costly federal government.

Jefferson addressed that list, one by one, and expressed his concurrence. Items 4 & 8 depended on Congress, and he placed the responsibility for those where it should be. He was already addressing the other six, which were within his responsibility.

“The decision to bring Patrick Lee was a wise one.”
Schoor-DePalma (a 650 employee engineering firm in New Jersey)
Similarly, your audience will regard wisely your decision to host Thomas Jefferson.
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739
Leave a comment Posted in Government's proper role Tagged , , , , |

How should the President invite you to dinner?

Th: Jefferson requests the favor of Dr. Thornton, Mrs. Thornton and Mrs. Bridau’s company to dinner tomorrow at three oclock.
To William Thornton and others, May 12, 1801

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Self-secure leaders don’t have to rely on titles.
Invitations to dine with the President were pre-printed, with blanks for the recipient’s name and date to be filled in. Following are the invitations used by the first two Presidents:
“The President of the United States and Mrs. Washington request the pleasure of …”
“The President of the United States [Adams] requests the pleasure of …”

Note the difference between these and Jefferson’s?

His begin with his name only, not his title or office. He might have called that republican (small r) simplicity, a deliberate move away from the formality and emphasis on status that characterized the previous two administrations.

William Thornton (1759-1828) was a physician, scientist, inventor and architect. He submitted the winning design for the new capitol building on the Potomac and was one of three men who laid out the federal city-to-be and supervised the construction of federal buildings. Mrs. Bridau was Mrs. Thornton’s mother and formerly taught a school for girls, which Jefferson’s younger daughter Maria had attended.

Jefferson ate two meals a day, breakfast around 9 or 9:30 and dinner at 3:00, plus a light snack in the evening.

“This letter is to commend a both talented and fascinating performer …”
Missouri Department of Conservation
Mr. Jefferson will fascinate your audience, too.
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739
Leave a comment Posted in Leadership styles Tagged , , , , , , , |

I serve you best by saying no.

I am duly sensible of the proof of confidence you are so good as to repose in me, resulting from the wish you express that I should undertake the guardianship of yourself & sisters. but since the year 1775. I have invariably declined guardianships & exrships [executorships] even for my nearest friends because I have never been master of my own time, and that an undertaking of that kind must have been to the injury of the persons interested … I am confident I serve you in not undertaking the office.
To Charles Wyndham Grymes, May 7, 1801

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Wise leaders limit the areas where they will serve.
Mr. Grimes and his two sisters were the grandchildren of the late Ariana Randolph, wife of patriot Edmund Randolph. British agents handling her estate were persuaded by correspondence in Mrs. Randolph’s files that she wanted Jefferson to be her grandchildren’s guardian and wrote him to that effect.
Jefferson replied directly to the grandson, thanking him for the honor and confidence expressed, yet he could not take the assignment. For over 25 years, he had declined guardianships and executorships, even for his best friends. As a public man, he knew his time was not his own, and he could not give that legal work the prompt attention it deserved.
Agreeing to their request would cause them loss. Declining was the best service he could render.

“Thank you for making our conference a resounding success.”
County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania
Mr. Jefferson will contribute to the success of your conference.
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739
Leave a comment Posted in Leadership, Uncategorized Tagged , , , , , , |

Do you make it easy for others to rely on you?

you see how I grow upon your goodness: but it is so frank [generous]that one cannot but grow on it. I do not foresee however that I shall impose upon it but once more. that will be by & bye, when I am ready at Monticello for carpets. the handsomest I ever saw was on your floor … were mrs Edwards or yourself in traversing Philadelphia ever to have your eye caught by any as handsome as that, I should surely ask you to arrest it for me.
To Enoch Edwards, May 7, 1801

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Leaders need honest friends they can trust completely.
In a previous post, Jefferson commissioned Edwards, a Philadelphia-area physician, to arrange for a carriage to be made for him. Earlier in this letter, he asked Edwards to stop in at a certain art dealer’s shop and inquire about the price of a Samuel Adams portrait there. (Chances are Jefferson subsequently acquired that portrait, but I can’t say for sure.)

Now, Jefferson expressed his growing appreciation for his Revolutionary War era friend and fellow patriot. He was drawn in by the man’s openness and honesty. Edwards made it easy for others to rely on his judgment.

Not wanting to abuse the relationship, Jefferson asked only one last favor. If Edwards or his wife ever happened to find carpets in Philadelphia as “handsome” as the ones he had seen in their home, they were to “arrest” (buy) them for him. Such was his confidence in them, Jefferson didn’t need to know the price or give prior approval.

“The performance was most enjoyable … “
President, Jefferson College
Your audience will enjoy and appreciate Mr. Jefferson’s words of wisdom.
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739
Leave a comment Posted in Miscellaneous Tagged , , , , , , , |

You CAN get here from there, barely.

I tried the road by Ravensworth … 2 miles of it which I think cannot be passed by your carriage without oversetting … you must absolutely come by Fairfax courthouse … till you come to Little’s lane … I passed it yesterday, a waggon being then stuck fast in it, nor do I suppose any four wheeled carriage could then have got through the spot where the waggon was without stalling … [then] the difficulty of your getting up the Bull run hill … there are other bad hills sufficient to make them give you a great deal of vexation. the Bull run hill is really the worst I ever saw on a public road. still let nothing tempt you to go by Centerville as on that rout the whole is cut by waggons into Mudholes … you had better start as soon as you can see to drive … and come on here to dinner. we shall wait for you till 4. aclock.
To James Madison, April 30, 1801

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Leaders help one another navigate the rough spots.
Jefferson had just returned from Monticello to Washington and found spring rains had made the hilly, muddy and rutted roads almost impassable. His neighbor and Secretary of State designate would now be making the same journey.

He alerted Madison which roads were trouble, which would wear out his horses or  cause them to balk, which to avoid. In what could be a bit of rare, wry humor of a black sort, he wrote, “…let nothing tempt you to go by Centerville …”

And get an early start the last day, as soon as there enough light to travel! He would be expected for dinner. That meal was usually at 3 PM. Knowing the challenges that lay ahead of his friend, he announced that meal would be postponed an hour.

“You were the hit of our annual conference.”
MO Association for Adult Continuing and Community Education
Mr. Jefferson will be a hit at your conference, too!
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739
Leave a comment Posted in Travel Tagged , , , , , , |

How do you pick the best out of three good choices?

… I cannot decide between Andrew Alexander, John Alexander, & John Caruthers, recommended by different persons for the Marshall’s office. pray write me your opinion, which appointment would be most respected by the public, for that circumstance is not only generally the best criterion of what is best, but the public respect can alone give strength to the government.
To Archibald Stuart, April 25, 1801

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Wise leaders are careful to maintain the public’s respect.
Stuart was a Virginia jurist, and Jefferson asked his opinion on which of three recommended candidates would make the best marshal. That officer selected jurors for jury trials, and impartiality was critical.

Apparently all three candidates were qualified, so Jefferson asked Stuart’s opinion on one question only: Who would be the “most respected by the public”? Why that standard?
– Public opinion was usually correct in such cases.
– Honoring the public in that way built confidence in the government.

“Working with Patrick was wonderful.
He was very flexible and easily adjusted his program to meet the audience.”
Executive Direction, Fort Mandan Foundation, Washburn, ND
You will find Patrick wonderful, too.
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739
Leave a comment Posted in Judiciary

What distracts you from getting the big jobs done?

thank you for the trouble you have taken to aid me in my domestic administration, and to rejoice in the success which has attended your endeavors. it is a great matter to get small things put out of our way, that our efforts may uninterruptedly be applied to great.
To Philippe de Letombe, March 31, 1801

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Wise leaders solve small problems quickly so they can focus on big ones.
de Letombe recruited Etienne Lemaire to be Jefferson’s “mâitre d’hôtel” at the President’s House in Washington City. Also known as Lucien, he would be the President’s butler, managing his household and dining table. He was 42, married, a skilled cook, came highly recommended and would receive $25/month plus his travel expenses.
Jefferson placed a premium on his “domestic administration.” With this personal need met, which he acknowledged was a small thing, he could now give his full attention to the great things needing his attention.
Lemaire served ably in this capacity for both of Jefferson’s terms as President.

“Patrick Lee’s presentation was concise, professional, to the point and entertaining,
all at the same time.”
Executive Vice President, Missouri Bankers Association
Concise, professional, focused and entertaining!
Invite Thomas Jefferson to speak. Call 573-657-2739
Leave a comment Posted in Miscellaneous Tagged , , , , , , , |